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edna200 has commented on (1) product.

By a Slow River by Philippe Claudel
By a Slow River

edna200, July 13, 2009

Once you start reading Philippe Claudel's by A Slow River
you know you've hit the road. There's no turning back.
His tight prose draws you in, instantly, like iron to a magnet,
breaking all barriers , leaving you naked facing the truth.
Above all, it's a story of memory and loss and the different
ways you negotiate with death to bring back all that was lost,
the fleeting memories, the ancient photographs and the old
notebook. The narrator, a former policeman sets on a quest
into the past ,delving into the shadows trying to discover
what really happened in a small French town he calls V
where two bodies were suddenly found by the slow river.
The time being 1917 when the horrors and the atrocities
of the war started infiltrating into this small, peaceful town.
Claudel builds up his story around two narratives, which
at first glance seem totally different one from the other.
One narrative focuses on the front zone where people
kill and get killed daily. The other one focuses on this
small town where people try hard to carry on with their
lives as if the horror of the war, just behind that hill,
was none of their business.
But once two bodies are found these two narrative become,
as it were, one narrative, that is; they share the same potential
for destruction and death. It's no more about 'them over the
hill" but rather about "all of us", no matter when and where.
Evil has turned to be an integral part of human nature,
reaching its climax when the narrator kills his own little son.
With Claudel there's no white and black. Just grey souls.
Evil and goodness are, forever, intertwined . Life will always
stay a mystery, opaque and unreachable, turning human nature
into a complex and ambiguous mosaic.
The murders remained unsolved and eventually, it's not really
important to find the killer. After all , potentially, we're all killers,
either in words, thoughts or deeds.
No dialogue with death can bring back the sweetness and beauty
of Morning Glory, the ten year girl found dead by the river. Nor
can it explain the death of the young teacher who came to teach
in that town where she finally found her death.
All that's left is the next coming day.
How it's going to end nobody knows, nor does Claudel.

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